Saturday, July 13, 2013

Jury Says Zimmerman "Not Guilty"

When I read that headline a few minutes ago, I was flabbergasted.  I still am.  I realize I was not on the jury, and was not presented the evidence and testimony in the way that the jury received it, in the trial of George Zimmerman, accused of Second-Degree Murder in the death of Trayvon Martin.  Being interested, and having grown up in the South, I have read daily about the trial.  I know that six women, five of them white, made up the jury for this trial.  A lot of people say that this is not about race - I feel, very deeply, that it is about race.  A youngish Hispanic man saw a young African-American man walking in a mostly Caucasian housing enclave.  The Hispanic man called the police to report "a suspicious" presence.  The police told the Hispanic man to stop following the African-American.  The Hispanic man, who was armed, disregarded the instructions of the police.  He followed the African-American man in his vehicle, and then confronted him on foot.  There were words exchanged, and, probably, blows.  Then a young man in a hoodie, carrying a can of tea and a bag of candy, was shot dead by the other man.
   For me, the fact that George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin, after being told by the police not to follow him, and the fact that Zimmerman was armed, with a hand gun, makes this an almost automatic "guilty" verdict dunk.
   I grew up in the segregated South.  My parents abhorred segregation, and as I grew up, I had friends with many different skin colors.  I know how some of my friends were treated - because their skin was another color, they were considered to be a "lesser" person in every way.  It was hurtful and demeaning, untrue and totally unnecessary.  This verdict is going to make waves.  Ministers, police and politicians are saying to respond to this verdict with your voice, and not with violence.  I totally agree.  Violence will not change the verdict of these six women.  Society, as a whole, needs to change - to open their eyes, and let the scales of color-blindness fall away.  Every person in this world needs to be treated equally.
   Trayvon Martin was racially profiled by another man of color, George Zimmerman.  Zimmerman was told to drop matters - to stop following Martin - by lawful authorities.  He did not stop.  He continued following, and he confronted, armed with a weapon capable of killing someone.  Had the names, races, and ages been switched - had Trayvon Martin, an African-American, followed and killed an unarmed George Zimmerman, after a confrontation that he had been told to stop, I would have found Trayvon Martin guilty.
   Color of skin doesn't matter. Your heart and your truthfulness matter.  Following instructions of law personnel matter.  Deciding to do what you feel is best is not always the best choice.  I can not feel that justice was done in this matter.  I mourn with Trayvon Martin's family tonight, and I mourn for our justice system, as well.

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